Conan Doyle as he appears here
From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
Conan Doyle as he appears here is an article/interview of Arthur Conan Doyle published in The New-York Times, 3 october 1894. The interview occurred during his trip in USA where he was giving lectures on literature.
Conan Doyle as he appears here
He was influenced by Poe — What he says of his own books
Dr. A. Conan Doyle has arrived, and soon Americans whom his books have pleased may become well acquainted with his personality, for he has come to give lectures, and there is something of one's mind in one's voice.
He will lecture on "Facts About Fiction," including the tendency of fiction in England, Hanly's country pictures, Stevenson's influence, "A Master of Phrases," "A Great Book," Olive Schreiner, Barrie and Scotland, the short tale, Rudyard Kipling, the neurotic woman, and recent humor.
He will analyse the novels of George Meredith, describe the author as the novelist's novelist, tell the permanent influence of his work on literature, review his earlier writings, discuss style and its uses, Meredith's humor, his phrase making, his types of women, and his renovating force in letters.
He intends to lengthen the plan which he had sketched in Europe with reedings and reminiscences. A premature book, short stories, the defective in fiction, romancy and reality. Poe's influence, Sherlock Holmes, the philosophy of trifles, the historical novel, early American material, the refugees, fiction as a profession, and the Lord of Château Noir are to be his themes. They will be an author's autobiography in the most seductive expression imaginable.
He is tall, straight, athletic, and, his head that his blue eyes make radiant with affability must have been modeled by Energy herself, so profoundly impressed it is with her mark. His forehead is not colossal, yet it is as if it were built of the same marble as the Titans. His look is merry, quick, curious, inventive, and resolutely fixed on the things that happen, and not on an invisible star.
The reporter looked, attentively at him in order that the godfather of Sherlock Holmes might be sketched in prose almost unconsciously, but the sketch lacks the sitter's animation. He was on his way to see "Shenandoah" and had walked quickly for fear of delaying those who were waiting to accompany him to the playhouse. His scarf was red and he inclined his head a little in deference to a man of small stature who talked to him, and replied to innumerable questions.
"No," he said. "my wife is ill. Thus is why I am to quit Dec. 10. I intend to return next year. She shall come with me then."
"Like New-York? Yes, indeed.
"I wrote short stories from the age of eighteen to that of twenty-seven. Then the people liked 'Micah Clarke,' and so I wrote novels."
"But how could you ever become so thoroughly in sympathy with the time of Micah Clarke?" asked a young woman, whose eyes had the clearness of crystal.
"Oh I don't know," Dr. Doyle replied. "It came naturally, I suppose. I always liked history. Then, it was it labor of love."
"Which one of your books do, you like best?" asked the reporter.
"I like best 'The White Company,'" Dr. Doyle replied, without a moment of hesitation. "I suppose the reon is that it is the one which gave the the most trouble to build."
"Now, weren't you influenced by Edgar Allan Poe when you wrote Sherlock Holmes?" asked the reporter.
A hush fell in the room. It could be heard as distinctly as the string of a violin had snapped, but Dr. Doyle liked the question and replied to it, at once, impulsively:
"Oh, immensely! His detective is the best detective in fiction."
"Except Sherlock Holmes," said somebody.
"I make no exception," said Dr. Doyle, very earnestly. "Dupin is unrivaled. It was Poe who taught the possibility of making a detective story a work of literature."
"But Dupin was not your model." suggested the young woman, whose, eyes had the clearness of crystal.
"I knew a schoolmaster," said the author, "who deduced irrefutable facts from reasoning."
"Have you seen Harold Frederic's comment in The New-York Times on 'The Story of Waterloo?'" asked somebody.
"I've not seen that," he replied. "I hope you will let me see it. I greatly adamire Frederic's work."
"Oh, he greatly admires yours!" said the young woman, aiding a note to her note, fine as flies' legs, written in a book bound in bleu-de-France morocco with silver corners exquisitely carved.
Dr. A. Conan Doyle was born at Edinburgh in 1859. He is the nephew of the late Richard Doyle, whose illustrations of the works of Thackeray may not easily be forgotten. He has a delightful scotch intonation. He is thirty-five years of age, and is already celebrated wherever literature has a friend. He has written "A Study in Scarlet," "The Mystery of Cloomber," "Micah Clarke: His Statement," "Adventures of Sherlock Holmes," "Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes," "The Great Shadow," "The White Company," many short stories, and has in preparation a book of "Medical Tales," "for I am, as you know," he says, naïvely "a physician." His lectures are under the management of Major J. B. Pond.